Ecovillage Wiki

The NEED For Sustainable Living

To Be Taught in

Mainstream Education

By Elliott Saxby.

This Speech was given at the Young U.K and Ireland programme 2005, which I attend to represent the Findhorn Foundation as a youth of the community. In total there where 40 participants and they all voted to support this petition. If you would like to use it to spread awareness you are very welcome, but please do not take the credit for my work and include NextGEN the organization I am part of. Thank you, Elliott Saxby.

I believe there is a vital need for sustainable living to be taught in mainstream education to all ages.

To start I would like to show how drastic our current situation is as a human race using ecological foot printing. An ecological footprint is a relatively new and revolutionary tool. It measures what a population requires to produce all the resources it consumes and absorb all the waste it generates using prevailing technology. So it is the footprint we leave on the Earth.

If the ecological footprint is larger than that which the planet can regenerate we are obviously heading for disaster.

According to the ecological footprints calculations if we were all to live like an average U.S. citizen we would need five planet Earths, FIVE. The statistics show humanity at present is using well over one planet Earths bio-capacity to sustain itself even while people are starving to death. Due to this we are experiencing collapsing fisheries; carbon-induced climate change; species extinction; deforestation; loss of ground water and more. If we continue over shooting our resources these symptoms will get worse to a catastrophic extent.

There are many alternative ways to change our life style for the better. They do not mean lowering the quality of life and in many cases can heighten it. These alternatives and changes need to be taught on a global scale and put into practice if the human race is to survive on its own planet with natural systems intact. The only way I can see to ensure this is education.

I cannot say how step by step in this petition but I can say when. Right now, global education on sustainable living is well over due.

So what is a sustainable culture?…

A sustainable culture is one that can continue indefinitely without depleting its resource base.

One expression of sustainable concepts has been developed under the name of Permaculture...

Permaculture is a constantly evolving, creative approach to meeting all basic needs as well as social and financial ones without depleting our resources.

In other words it is an ecologically sound approach...

Permaculture means a Permanent… Culture...

It consists of a set of ethics, philosophies, principles and attitudes. These are used in designing all aspects of our life as well as on a day-to-day basis.

The Ethics of this approach are

  • Earth care,
  • People care,
  • And Fair shares.

I believe we should all be taught and live by these.

One of the philosophies is work with nature

Not against her... Co-existence with nature is a key to sustainable life.

If we allow children to experience the beauty and wonder of nature they can love it and design their life’s to care for it.

A connection with nature and thirst to learn about it is a true gift, after all it sustains all we physically are.

Some of the essential principles of a sustainable attitude are:

  • Minimum effort, Maximum effect
  • Increasing Diversity
  • Everyone teaches and everything contributes
  • Yield is limited only by the imagination.

The principle of everyone teaches everyone else brings me to the conclusion that our current teaching practices need amendments. We mainly have a consumerist education. We are given information to consume then regurgitate it to show understanding.

This needs to be modified. We can learn much from each other, the young from the old and the old from the young. A creative education is needed so we can consciously guide our future allowing us to demonstrate our own evolution, another Permaculture philosophy.

Permaculture is a huge subject; we have looked at a few key points. Some of the more important aims are:

  • To build a community spirit
  • Find local solutions to global problems.
  • Grow food locally
  • Lower energy use
  • Promote appropriate technology and many others

According to Permaculture everything works both ways. If we apply this principle to the idea that sustainable living needs to be taught in education then I believe we will find that… sustainable living will teach us. All we have to do is accept the problem and accept a sustainable way of life.

We seem a long way off embracing this concept, but if I’m sure of one thing its that the citizens of this world need an education that will secure our planet well into the next Millennium.

What is the point of fighting the consequences of unsustainable living such as terrorism, AIDS and global poverty if the next generation are not educated to live sustainably, but continue to live like the majority of our generation, destroying our natural resources and the ability of the planet to sustain human life.

I sincerely hope you will educate your selves further and promote sustainable living. For those who wish to be part of one of the most serious movements humankind has faced I have handouts with useful web sites where you can go deeper into what I have discussed.

Thank you.

Living A Sustainable


Our planet is facing a human caused disaster that could end life as we know it in the not so far future. The only way I see to prevent it is to adopt a sustainable culture. If my talk has caused you to think and you wish to be part of one of the most serious movements humankind has faced and wish to educate your selves further and promote sustainable living these web sites will be a good start.

Permaculture Association

Permaculture magazine

Global Eco-village Network NextGEN

Global Footprint Network Gaia University

Local Economy Trading Systems (L.E.T.S) Soil Association

The Findhorn Foundation